Tips for a Great Year

First - Feed them smart food!
Breakfast is the most important meal for peak academic performance. Serve them an egg sandwich or melted cheese on toast. The protein-carb combo keeps kids energized. Toast up whole-grain bread or frozen whole-grain waffles. The fiber they deliver will keep kid's stomachs satisfied longer and deliver loads of glucose which fuels brain power. The perfect snack during the day is yogurt and walnuts. The amino acids in yogurt boost alertness and memory, while the omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts improve kid's behaviour and reading skills.

Second - Making them make music!
Young children who are given music lessons enjoyed a 2 to 3 point boost in IQ scores as compared to children who had tutoring in academic subjects. Research shows that children who are taught to play the piano or keyboard score, on average, 34% higher on tests measuring their ability to judge time and space than other children.

Third - Cutting down on distractions!
Where your child does homework is as important as when it's done. Your child's homework place should be free from the TV and the telephone. Studies show that it takes up to 15 minutes to regain concentration after a distraction such as a phone call. Put a full spectrum light bulb into their desk lamp. These bulbs produce light similar to sunlight, which is proven to help erase grogginess and improve alertness. As well, it is OK to let them listen to music while doing their homework or studying. It functions as "white noise" which drowns out other distractions.

Fourth - Turning out the lights!
Your kids may beg you to stay up just a little longer, but here's a good reason not to give in: Sleep deprived students score 30% lower, on average, on memory tests than kids who get at least eight hours sleep. Data shows that sleep deficiency does impact school performance in the areas of planning, problem solving, concentration, and short term memory. Five to ten year olds need about 10.5 hours of sleep; 11 to 14 year olds need nine hours and 15 to 18 year olds need 8.5 hours of sleep. Also, if they over sleep - let them! A child who isn't sleep deprived and gets an extra hour or two of shut-eye will perform much better than normal on tasks requiring sustained attention such as taking an exam.

Fifth - Playing more games!
Playing games like checkers, chess or Jeopardy will help improve your child's short-term memory. Swedish research shows that strengthening memory actually increases the number of connections between brain cells.